By Ibtasam Elmaliki
October is Domestic Violence Awareness month; purple is worn to show solidarity and institutions such as CUNY allow tabling to share information about services and support for victims. However, what is being done all year around to raise awareness? This is where the Crime Victims Treatment Center, CVTC, comes in.
CVTC started in 1977 to help domestic violence survivors in New York City. The agency offers free and confidential services to help victims, starting with crisis intervention and following up with ranges of therapy, legal training, and support groups to aid victims in the healing process. They partner with numerous schools and institutions across the city to raise awareness, especially among college students. (https://www.cvtcnyc.org/)
According to The National Domestic Violence Hotline (https://www.thehotline.org/resources/statistics/), 43% of dating college women report experiencing violent and abusive dating behaviors including physical, sexual, tech, verbal or controlling abuse and 58% say they don’t know what to do to help someone who is a victim of dating abuse. While 57%, more than half of college students, say it is difficult to identify dating abuse. Eric McGriff, a prevention program coordinator for CVTC, comments that the statistics are the exact reason why awareness is essential. “Victims are not always aware that they’re in a violent relationship. There’s no education on it. People see domestic violence in the media through TV shows and movies and think it’s normal,” says McGriff. “It’s normalized. But it’s not normal and it’s not healthy. This is why educational programs are needed, and that’s what we do. We’re partnered with 10 colleges and we do events and campaigns around the city to educate others. We even do events for K-12.”
McGriff is also apart of OutSmartNYC, an industry partnered with CVTC, to combat sexual violence. According to their website, (https://www.outsmartnyc.org/),
“OutSmartNYC is a collective of industry staff, patrons, educators, and activists organizing to prevent and end sexual violence in bars, restaurants, and nightclubs.” “We provide nightlife training, training staff on violence prevention and intervention, we also train the youth,” says McGriff.
CVTC and OutSmartNYC both provide a large range of information on their website and helpful resources around the city for both domestic violence victims and those who know a domestic violence victim. People also have the choice of giving a donation on their website so they can continue their free services to victims.